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Around Alcester, Bidford & the Villages


February - March ‘19 No. 135

Children’s gardening Personalised nutrition Spring clean your finances REVIEW: The Golden Cross, Ardens Grafton







Your first choice in lawn care 2018 was a difficult year for your garden. Extreme weather conditions resulted in lawns that didn’t look their best. As we move towards the growing season, now is the time to start preparing your lawn to get the best out of it. Our seasonal treatments start from just £15*. Due to high demand, and to avoid disappointment, we are advising that you book your treatments early.

If your lawn is beyond repair due to last years sweltering summer, ask us about our Lawn Makeover - the best way to get ‘the GreenThumb lawn.’

For your FREE lawn analysis & no-obligation quote, contact your local branch today.

Simply call 01905 840740 or email

*Based on a lawn size up to 40m2






“All things good for wood”




01789 778628

Wellington Road, Waterloo Industrial Estate, Bidford on Avon, B50 4JH

Independent Optometrist friendly personal service Call to book an appointment on 01789 549409

Fancy a fresh look? Come and see our 2019 eyewear

15a High Street, Bidford-on-Avon, B50 4BQ To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


Useful phone numbers Doctors / Health

Alcester Health Centre The Arrow Surgery Bidford Health Centre NHS Direct Samaritans


Redditch Hospital Stratford Hospital Warwick Hospital


Emergency Services Alcester Police BT Fault Electric Power Loss Gas Emergency


Alcester Library Bidford Library Citizens’ Advice Bureau Electrician Funeral Services Locksmith Plumber/Heating Plumber/Heating Plumber/Heating Volunteer Drivers MSG Private Hire


Alcester Academy Alcester Grammar St Benedict’s High Bidford-on-Avon Primary Coughton Primary Dunnington Primary Great Alne Primary Haselor Primary Our Lady’s Primary Salford Priors Primary St Nicholas Primary Temple Grafton Primary


Alcester Town Council Bidford Parish Council Stratford Dist Council

763060 763293 773372 111 08457 909090

01527 503030 205831 01926 495321

999 or 112 444816 08008 00151 08004 04090 08001 11999

0300 555 8171 01789 773239 0844 855 2322 07771 616189 01789 766750 01789 762450 01789 766200 01789 270744 01386 871777 262889 07734 806 322

762285 762494 762888 773201 762444 772200 488247 488211 762555 772497 762578 772384

766084 778653 267575


... to the February/March Connection

and happy new year, for our last edition was delivered before Christmas, which now seems an age ago! 2019 seems to have got off to a speedy start. Schools have obviously started back again, but are due a week’s break in February. If you’re looking for ideas to keep little folk entertained, might I point you in the direction of ‘Growing Green Fingers’ on page 20? There’s some great tips for getting little ones more interested in gardening and local wildlife like the gorgeous blue tit on our front cover. There’s also children’s puzzles (p.30) for a little mental stimulation on rainy days. For those of you who have resolved to be healthier this year, Esther Mills-Roberts shares her expertise on personal nutrition (p.26), and we have a vegetable gratin recipe for anyone pledging to eat less meat (p.10). Or perhaps this is the year you want to take control of your finances. Read our tips on budgeting and tackling debt for a richer 2019 (p.60). One of my resolutions is to read more and waste less time looking at screens. I think I managed about 5 books for the whole of last year, which is fairly OK for a self employed mum of 2 young children, but not as good as I’d like. So I will be attempting more, starting with one or two of the ‘Books to get you talking’ on page 48. Other reads from us this edition include regular features Travel (p.46) and Motoring (p.34,36), Back of the Net (p.38), Heads Up Now (p.14), Community & What’s On (p.56-58). All this and a not-so-regular feature too. Turn to page 12 to read our special review of The Golden Cross at Ardens Grafton. You may have noticed we’ve another great competition - this time for an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Find out how you could win on page 43. I had the pleasure of delivering pre-Christmas glad tidings to a lovely lady called Jane, who was our Sonos One winner, with the correct answer of “six times a year” regarding how many times a year The Connection is now printed. We still deliver every month, just alternating between different areas. So, until our next edition (you’ll receive it in 2 months time)...

Amy April/May Copy Deadline: Wednesday 13th March Connection circulation: 10,000 Editor: Amy James Phone 01789 491005 Email: Printed by Warwick Printing Ltd 01926 883355

Whilst every care is taken to ensure accuracy, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by error in the printing of an advert. All artwork is accepted on the strict condition that permission has been given for use in the publication. Adverts are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are fair and accurate. The Connection Magazine does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise – without the prior consent of the publisher.



Campsite opens 1st March


Valentine'ss Day

3 Course Valentine’s Meall for £19.95 per person or enjoy 2 fillet steaks & a bottle of wine for £35

B&B accommodation


NEW for 2019:

Thursday 7th March, starting 8.30pm

available all year round at excellent rates.

Large marquee 50ft x 30ft Available for birthdays, parties, weddings, christenings, work events etc.

in aid of Prostate Cancer UK

Teams of up to 4 people. Complimentary nibbles. Come and join us to help a great charity

01789 772279 • Welford Road, Barton, Nr Bidford on Avon, Warks, B50 4NP


February & March:

Exclusive local offer. First 20 customers receive DNA testing & follow up consultation for £139 (£99 test, £40 consultation). Usual price £179 test, £45 consultation.

DNA Practitioner:

Registered Nutritionist, Esther Mills-Roberts

Email: Facebook: @allaboutnutritionuk Phone: 07834 227677

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


Martin Grinnell


Your local independent funeral director serving the local community for almost 30 years.

• • • •

Professional Personal Service 24 Hour / 7 Days a Week Home Visits Private Chapel of Rest

Please contact Martin at anytime

01386 422233 1 Bewdley Street, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 4AD


(answers on page 58)

Each row, column & 3x3 box must contain the numbers 1 to 9

Easy grid


Not so easy grid



Jayne Mottram

VIRTUAL ASSISTANT for your secretarial requirements

Audio transcription Minute taking Documentation Correspondence Confidential admin service Fast turnaround Experienced PA/Secretary Tel: 01789 490109 Mobile: 07985 048630 Email:


For all airport, train & ferry drop off & collections. We can transport you to/from anywhere in the country 24/7 Fully licensed & insured for up to 8 passengers. CALL OR TEXT:

07734 806 322 EMAIL:



Friday 15th February

6 course tasting menu with magician

£45 per person

WEDDING FAYRE Saturday 23rd February, 12-4pm

Glass of bubbly with our compliments. FREE


Sunday 17th March

Jazz lunch with ‘The Cocktail Hour’. Enjoy a 3 course Sunday lunch for

£22.50 per person

RAT PACK EVENING Friday 22nd March

Rat pack evening with ‘The Goodfella’ including a 3 course dinner.

£34.99 per person

Saturday 2nd March “Downfall Abbey”:


£39.99 per person

3 course Sunday lunch with entertainment from our magician. Free gift for all mums.

Downton Abbey themed murder mystery. Includes a 3 course dinner

Sunday 31st March

£29.99 per adult, £15 per child.

01386 871 300

Abbots Salford, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 8UT |

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


13 years of

Carpets & Flooring


with Grinnall

t’s been 13 years since Grinnall Carpets started trading from home, and throughout that time they have consistently stayed true to their roots as a family-run business. Two years after opening their doors, they made the move to their first commericial premises in Bidford-on-Avon before finally settling at Weston Industrial Estate on the outskirts of Honeybourne in 2011. The Grinnall showroom has tardis-like properties. From the outside, you wouldn’t imagine the selection they’ve curated behind their doors. In addition to carpets, they also supply and fit an abundance of other flooring including vinyls, naturals, and luxury vinyl tiles (tile or wood effect). The shop stocks a great range of ready-tobuy gifts and decorations for your home, too. Rugs, door stops and cushions can be found to accessorize and coordinate with your new floor. The store and the workshop are run by a small, experienced, friendly and carefully chosen team

(no contract workers here), who are on hand to offer their advice and help you with your next flooring purchase. There’s plenty of samples to take away, and they provide a free measuring and quotation service aross Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. So, if you’re looking to replace carpets or lay new flooring this year, get in touch with Grinnall on 01386 841899, or pop by their store in Honeybourne. Opening hours are 10am5pm Monday to Friday and 10am-1.30pm on Saturdays.

Unit 19, Weston Industrial Estate, Honeybourne, Worcs, WR11 7QB

01386 841899 Carpets • Vinyls Rugs • Carpet Edging Natural Flooring Flooring supplied and fitted. Choose from 100’s of samples in store or in the comfort of your own home. Open Mon to Fri 10 - 5, Sat 10 - 1.30 8



Painter & Decorator

Eric Williams Electrician 07974 228835

Interior and Exterior BRIAN SMITH

No job too small Estimates free

Call 01789 772077 or 07790 087219 for a free estimate

CLOUDY WINDOWS?’s quick and easy to re-glaze! Call today for a FREE quote from local NVQ-qualified glazier, Alex Swancott.

JUST GLAZE 07368 341 534

Whipple Tree Cottage Coughton Fields Lane Alcester, B49 6BX 01789 564767

Computer Trouble-shooter Graham Smith For Domestic and Business Users

Local Bidford


Reasonable rates



Virus Problems


ow to tuition



Call 07771 724697 or 01789 774719 or email


Local Plumber ALL PLUMBING WORK UNDERTAKEN No job too small • No VAT Reliable Friendly Service


Call: 07768 360 420 References Available On Request Fully Insured

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


Potato and Broccoli Gratin This hearty vegetable gratin makes a great side dish for a Sunday roast, or a very satisfying vegetarian supper served with crusty bread and a mixed green salad.

Ready in: 1 hour | Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients 750g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks Salt and freshly ground black pepper 225g broccoli florets 1 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges 25g butter 25g plain flour 300ml milk 150g mature Cheddar, grated 2 tsp Dijon mustard


Fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200C, fan 180F, gas mark 6. Boil the potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted water for 8-10 minutes until almost tender, adding the broccoli to the pan for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time. Drain well and place in a large shallow ovenproof dish. Heat the oil in a large pan over a high heat and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes until just softened. Scatter the onion over the potatoes and broccoli. Melt the butter in the pan, then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute until foaming. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, still stirring, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in the half the cheese and the mustard and simmer for a further minute. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the dish and scatter over the rest of the cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve garnished with the basil leaves.

Choose a firm, waxy-fleshed potato such as Charlotte or Desiree for this dish, or try sweet potatoes instead.




Breakfast at Hillers served daily 9.00am - 11.45am We use only the finest, freshest, locally sourced ingredients Contact our Garden Restaurant on:

01789 491950

A.H. Hiller & Son Ltd Dunnington Heath Farm • Alcester • B49 5PD Tel: 01789 772771 •




n the interest of honesty, I am compelled to admit that The Golden Cross in Ardens Grafton holds a special place in my heart, although it has done since many a year prior to its most recent change of management at the end of 2016. My late great grandmother used to work behind the bar in the 1950’s and then, in 2008, I had the good fortune of celebrating my wedding there with a delicious, informal hot buffet meal. Clearly, much time has lapsed since then and I was keen to find out how the new 2019 menu fared in comparison to other local pubs. Shortly after the current owners took it on, The Golden Cross underwent a huge makeover with up to date decor, very sympathetic to the character of the building. The restaurant area - what I would class as a “smart casual” section of the pub - is a cosy affair, and it was here that my husband and I enjoyed our meal one chilly evening in January. We were given the option of sitting in the main pub area, but it was difficult to resist the call of the crackling log fire in the dining room, so it was there that we settled, our tummies eagerly anticipating the culinary possibilities that lay ahead. Feeling tired and subdued, and certainly


looking softer around the edges after festive feasting, our dining choices should perhaps have included the poached salmon or one of the tempting salad options (I was very nearly swayed by the grilled halloumi salad, or “squeaky cheese” as my 4 year old calls it), but the call to good, old fashioned, comforting pub grub was too strong in our fatigued hour of need. Our server for the evening was lovely – friendly, attentive, not at all pushy, and she knew the names of all the gins they had behind the bar, helping me to decide on one with lovely peppery notes, which was clearly the most important job of the evening! Once drinks orders were dealt with (my husband plumped for a pint of Estrella), we began with the whitebait and calamari starters, which arrived at our tables, piping hot and satisfyingly crispy - clearly freshly deep fried. Each served alongside a garnish of dressed salad leaves and a dipping bowl of tartare sauce for the whitebait; mayonnaise for the calamari. If I were to dine here for a light lunch, I think I could have been sated with whitebait and a larger side salad. The servings were generous – something that carried through to the main course. My “need” for something comforting led to being served with a hot plate laden with the “Golden Cross Famous Faggots”, some mashed potato and, continuing in the theme of dreamy nursery textures, mushy peas. All glistening with mouth-smackingly tasty “proper beef gravy”. My intentions to sample and review 3 courses suddenly seemed too large a challenge as I wasn’t certain quite how



to conquer the behemoth-like feast laid before me. My husband’s plate of gammon, egg, chips, pineapple and mushy peas was also a sight for sore eyes. Veganuary followers, look away now. The fat on the gammon was a delicious dark caramel colour and it had been grilled to perfection. Slightly charred and still juicy. No tough meat here! I so very nearly called it a day after our mains. My husband certainly couldn’t manage another bite. But I’ve never been a defeatist so, with eyes far bigger than my belly, I selected a cherry frangipane tart from the menu, served with a scoop of Bennett’s vanilla ice cream. Not an easy decision with classic Great British options including fruit crumble, bread & butter pudding, chocolate brownie and sticky toffee pudding. The tart was a lovely end to the meal. A few bites too far for my already-full stomach, but tasty with crisp and buttery pastry. The tart cherries went well with the ice cream and satisfied my sweet tooth. I do believe I could have fallen asleep after the faggots: pleasantly full at that point, in a warm and cosy booth, fire blazing across from us and nothing too much trouble for our server. And this really seems to be the typical atmosphere at The Golden Cross. There’s no pretence here. No over-priced menu that says more about expensive decor instead of real, honest food. No ‘style over substance’. This isn’t fussy fine dining. It’s a home from home (albeit a home that’s much tidier and better looking than my child-dominated quarters!). This is well-cooked pub grub served by down-to-earth hosts who know the menus and the bar offerings well. There isn’t an abundance of choice, which for me speaks of quality. Who really wants an endless list of mass-produced, cooked-from-frozen fayre? Here, you can rest assured that what you do order will be cooked well and not leave you wanting, which makes it a fantastic option for those wanting to dine on a budget. The fixed price menu, served Monday to Saturday (12-9pm on Mondays, 12-6pm Tuesday to Saturday) means you can enjoy one course for £7. And, believe me, one course could be

plenty if you weren’t as big a piggy as I am. But two courses for £10 or three for £13 could be considered very reasonable options, given the quality of the food and the portion sizes. Why Visit? Welcoming, cosy, relaxed and easy on the bank balance. No nonsense pub classics with vegetarian options available. Any Particular Occasion? From a quick pint with snacks in the bar to a slap up meal for a special occasion in the restaurant area. I’d be more than happy to celebrate an informal wedding here... again! I am yet to sample a Sunday roast at The Golden Cross, so couldn’t pass comment on this, but with 3 courses for £17.95, it’s a very wallet-friendly option. Pricing? Great value for money compared to other “foodie pubs” in the area. You certainly wouldn’t get any nasty surprises when the bill arrives at the end of the meal. On a Monday evening, as part of their fixed price menu, you could enjoy 3 courses and a couple of drinks for approximately £20 per person. As a side note and from a parent’s perspective, I would have no qualms in bringing my 4 and 6 year old along to enjoy macaroni cheese or one of the other dishes specially chosen for small, fussy eaters. I’ve already mentioned that this is not a pretentious venue and I can’t imagine being subjected to eyerolling or tutting from the staff if the behaviour of my mini-me’s was anything less than perfect. Plus, in the summer time, there’s a fantastic outdoor space for them to potter about and burn off a little energy. To make a reservation at The Golden Cross, call 01789 772420. Bookings now being taken for Valentine’s day & Mothering Sunday.

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email




p and back, up and back, up and back. It wasn’t what I expected.

The Resolution Run was an invitation to run multiple “laps” of Hayling Island, an island shaped like an upside down ’T’ dangling off the Hampshire coast. The place where windsurfing was invented and home to the oldest yew tree in the country.

My interpretation of “laps” was ‘going around the island’. In fact it meant running repeatedly up and back along a disused railway line (known as the Hayling Billy Line) for precisely 2.2 miles each way. I signed up to attempt a marathon. You do the sums. Having slept two hours the previous night I needed to stay awake, so I played a game: For each “lap” my attention became attuned to ‘What’s new?’. On lap five, where the old railway line fringed Langstone Harbour, I spotted chalk boulders on the shoreline, as large as ogre teeth. On lap seven I noticed a runner, face as round as a paper plate, beaming a smile which said “be here, be happy.” Lap eleven: I saw a blue rowing boat marooned in a nearby garden, lusting for liberation upon the tide. I’d been running for nearly five hours. “How come I haven’t seen that before?” I mused. What has this got to do with mental health? Sometimes predictability is a gift. After all, who wants to play ‘Find The Milk’ every morning before breakfast? But sometimes repetition dulls the senses to what is joyful, truthful and possible. You can get into ruts of thinking, feeling and doing which don’t always serve you, or those around you. Neuroscience illuminates the fact that we create the way we think through repeated thought patterns. It’s possible to change not just what you think, but how you think. The workings of the anterior cingulate

cortex - a part of the brain which joins the ‘emotional’ limbic part with the ‘cognitive’ prefrontal cortex - becomes programmed to notice certain things but ignore others.

What good things might you not yet be paying attention to? What possibilities are you dismissing? What assumptions might you be making which prevent problems from being resolved, costing money, wasting time and triggering stress? If you want to, you can keep going up and back, up and back, in life, “preoccupied with nothing”, as Seneca wrote 2,000 years ago. Or you can choose (and learn) to pay attention to different things, broadening your reality. As Martin Seligman, pioneer of the positive psychology movement says, we can pay attention to what’s right with the world, others and ourselves, not just what’s wrong with it. This cultivates gratitude, self-compassion and courage. Try this: who and what, right now, are you thankful for? Make a mental list. Place your hand physically on your chest. Picture those people/things. How’s that feel? Our focus as a local business is coaching people to accelerate getting unstuck from negative ruts of stress, worry and depression. Based on over 20 years of experience, we enable people to expand their attention, strengthening choices and deepening resilience. Can we be useful to you or someone you know? When I finished running, it wasn’t the repetition I remembered but the awakening salt-scented air and that expansive smile. “Be here, be happy”. That made it worth it.

Christopher Spriggs is the founder of Heads Up Now, which offers coaching and support for young people, teachers and leaders to think, feel and perform at their best, more often and more easily. Want this? Get in touch with us today. @Heads_Up_Now




Traditional & Friendly Family Jewellers Specialists in Antique, Vintage & Pre-Owned Jewellery.

Give your home a New Look for the New Year with a lovely new carpet, wood, laminate, vinyl or Karndean floor

Unique Pieces. All Jewellery, Watch & Clock Repairs professionally undertaken. Over 50 years experience.

Free quotations & home selection service available

The Jewellers in the Alley. 3 Market Place, Alcester, B49 5AE

3 Swan Street, Alcester, B49 5DP

T: 01789 763715 W:

01789 400050


An evening dedicated to the bride. Come and meet local wedding suppliers and get ideas for your big day.

Hair and make up demonstrations by:


For more information, find our event on Facebook or contact Claire on 07771 620080

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


To book a design consultation

LLOYDS 02476 474080 0800 977 4671

Visit one of our 5 showrooms or contact us at

Est. 1979

H/O & Showroom 4 Padstow Road Tile Hill Coventry CV4 9X8 02476 474080

Lloyds Design Hub 26 Sheep Street Shipston on Stour Warwickshire CV36 4AF 01608 663010 I

Lloyds Design Hub 10 High Street Alcester Warwickshire 849 SAD 01789 764775

Lloyds Design Hub 21 High Street Pershore Wocestershire WR10 1AA 01386 553059

Lloyds Design 5 The Lanes Wylde Green Sutton Coldfield 872 1 YH 0121 3821226

Specialists in all aspects of flooring for Domestic and Commercial Environments Carpets • Vinyls • Amtico • Beds Artificial Grass • Safety Flooring

For a FREE, no obligation quotation call: 01789 508 188

Or call into our showroom: 4 Kinwarton Farm Road, Alcester, B49 6EH Free home selection service upon request. Week Days Wednesdays Saturday Sunday

0900 -1630 0900 -1300 0900 -1500 Closed

10% OFF All carpets in February/March


Some great offers on Westex carpets

Offer valid with voucher only. Photocopies not accepted. Expires 31st March 2019.




FREE QUOTES ON ALL WORKS LED lighting conversions • Full rewires Small electrical jobs • PAT testing Landlords’ & electrical condition reports Smart Home enquiries Electric gate systems, serviced and fitted Alarm & CCTV installations

01789 490972

07796 990309 /arcelectricalbidford

Unit 21, Weston Ind. Est., Honeybourne, WR11 7QB

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


A home to feel proud of. Introducing 104 Millway Lodge, one of the few remaining retirement properties at Great Alne Park in Warwickshire. Luxury facilities in our stunning new clubhouse, Maudslay House include, a wellness centre, swimming pool, fitness room, fully-licensed bar, restaurant, library, games room and on-site cinema.

104 Millway Lodge This charming first-floor home features two perfectly proportioned double bedrooms – one with en-suite – along with a separate bathroom and carefully designed kitchen. The living area is flooded with light from the French doors which lead out to the balcony.

£345,000 01789 867 233 Maudslay House, Woodlands Drive, Great Alne Park, Great Alne, Warwickshire, B49 6FY

Villages located in Warwick, Exeter, Horsham, Alcester, Liphook, Chester /theconnectionmag @connection_mag 18 and coming soon to Leeds Village in Kent.

HEALTHY HAIR STARTS WITHIN At Sweeney Todd, we pride ourselves on our knowledge and passion for hair. We truly believe the hair is a reflection of your scalp, and your health.


ince opening our second salon in Alcester, we have been overwhelmed with the influx of new and old clients. We have been well supported and now that Christmas is behind us, it’s a great opportunity to let you know what’s going on:

We have new beauty packages for those wanting a pamper. We have a new team member joining us, who is offering complimentary blowdrys with our hair/ scalp treatments personal to you. Each client receives complimentary samples to use at home, to be able to feel and see the difference our high quality products can make to your hair. We encourage you to try this offer as it will help break the cycle of washing your hair daily, as so many do. If you’d like to pass this on as a gift to a friend or loved one, then we also have gift vouchers available to put their way... It’s all about spreading the word.

Begin our 3-step programme with your next hair appointment: Step 1: Free blowdry and hair treatment, plus home care. Step 2: 50% off your first cut and finish. Step 3: £20 off your first colour or £10 off your second cut and finish.


The symptoms of hormonal imbalance can often show on the skin, especially the scalp, resulting in embarrassing dry, itchy, red scaly patches and/or thinning hair. Sue McLaughlin, hair specialist and salon owner, recommends a microscopic hair test which can give a wealth of information regarding your overall well-being. A comprehensive report is compiled, detailing what foods are affecting you, and any deficiencies or underlying issues of concern. Sue recommends completing her 3-month ‘detox, build and nurture’ programme following the report and offers a consultation to guide you through the process. Hair testing prices start at £99.50 or £129.50 to include kinesiology session.

To arrange an appointment, please call or email Anita, the salon co-ordinator: w: t: 01789 762401

VALENTINE’S & MOTHER’S DAY 3 HOUR BEAUTY PACKAGE: Back massage | Facial | Shellac Nails Blowdry plus hair treatment Glass of Prosecco Complimentary homecare


T&C’s apply. See website for details.

01789 762401 | 37 High Street, Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 5AF

swing can provide hours of enjoyment. Why not build a temporary den over a low hanging branch with some old sheets, clothes pegs and cushions? You could also make a mini-sandpit with a trough, large plant pot or small paddling pool.

Growing Green Fingers Helping your child to discover a love of gardening. Their own little corner Your child may not have the same taste in plants as you do. So, if you can, give them their own mini-plot to experiment with. Let them choose the plants they want (after discussing soil conditions, shade etc.) and give them the responsibility of watering and weeding. Children aren’t known for their patience so try to incorporate some plants that will give instant enjoyment and have a strong fragrance, such as lavenders and geraniums, along with others that are easy to grow and worth the wait, such as sunflowers, sweet peas and marigolds. Grow your own Fussy eaters can often be persuaded to try new things if they’ve had a hand in growing them. If you have the space for a raised bed, you could try courgettes, lettuces, or dwarf runner beans. Limited space? Potatoes, carrots and peas can be grown in pots.


Tomatoes thrive against a sunny wall, while pepper plants and herbs will be fine on a windowsill.

A fairy garden Create a fairy garden together by filling a shallow container with soil and adding a few small plants. You could use a small plant pot for a house, create a miniature lake with a ramekin and make a swing with sticks and string. Add some solar-powered twinkly lights and a couple of small wooden or plastic elves an nd fairies.

Safety fi first Teach ch hildren never to eat anything from the garden n without checking with h you first. Do Wildlife head to the RHS Encourage your website (www. child to hang to bird feeders in the find out what garden and fill plants to avoid a shallow bowl growing though; for a bird bath. some are very p You could also help poisonous and Sagaform Bird Feeder, them to make a £16 others can irritate bee hotel by tying skin and eyes. sections of bamboo canes Keep sharp tools, plant food together, or fixing the canes and weed killer safely out into a terracotta pot with of reach at all times. If you some modelling clay. Older have a pond, cover it with a children might enjoy identifying rigid metal grille. different birds, bees and More inspiration insects using a book or app. The BBC has lots of ideas Somewhere to play for encouraging children into You may not have room for a gardening, from growing football pitch or trampoline, patterns on the lawn to but even small gardens can building a wormery. See usually offer some space for play. A few fixed logs can gardening_with_children. make a fun mini-obstacle course for example, and a By Kate Duggan




It’s time to get your hedges cut before the birds start nesting!



Professional, Qualified and Insured Garden & Estate Maintenance Hedge & Topiary Trimming Planting & Pruning Plant Advice Lawn Care


Experienced, fully qualified, insured & inspired husband & wife team. Eco Friendly, Green Garden Waste Shredder for hire (processes timber and green waste up to 5” diameter)

Call Michelle or Anton for an informal chat:

01789 601321 or 07523 011488

0796 904 8042


Passionate about Gardening

For your free design quote “CONNECTION” - T&Cs apply.

A family run business with over 10 years experience in garden design and landscaping. W We offer ff ou ur knowledge and expertise to work with you to design and a d build b ild your dream outside living space.

Garden Design




To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


Gates & Railings by Phil

I make gates and railings

All colours available, made to order. Low cost fitting service available. For discounts find us on:

Please call me on 07747 032583 or email to discuss your requirements.

Working in the local area for 25 years

DELANCEY DEVELOPMENTS.COM Professional Local Builder Specialising in all aspects of building: • Kitchens & Bathrooms • Carpentry & Roofing • Extensions & Alterations • Rubberbond Flat Roofing System • Landscaping & Water Features For a free, no bligation quote, call

01789 773767 or 07909 913014 22







incl. Hedgecutters & Strimmers Blackminster, Evesham, WR11 1 7RE 7

For your servicing needs, Tel/Fax: 01386 830283 Collection and delivery service

FENCING Andrew Smith

No job too small or big 30 years experience Mobile 07789 721303 Home 01386 793248 Based in Inkberrow

• • • • •

Complete Landscaping Patios & Driveways Fencing & Decking Water Features Garden Design

• • • • •

Garden Maintenance Mowing Hedge Cutting Lawn & Border Care Seasonal Care

T: 01789 612253 M: 07796 206603 E:

Pest Control serviCe ✓ Wasps ✓ Rats/Mice ✓ Moles ✓ Insects ✓ Other Mammals & Birds

• Fully qualified and insured • Excellent rates • Friendly discrete service • Short and long term contracts available

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When Nutrition gets Personal

by Esther Mills-Roberts

hen I began studying nutrition in the 90s, we were on the cusp of a new approach. Out went the view that vitamins and minerals were just there to prevent deficiencies and in came a paradigm shift that diet and supplements could offer so much more to health. Population studies started showing that many people weren’t getting what they needed from their diets, and a new wave of research studies were showing that higher intakes might be beneficial in the nutritional management of certain health conditions; 2000mg of Vitamin C daily reducing the duration of the common cold, essential fats for joints or zinc for skin health. Food manufacturers soon took hold of this and we saw nutrition explode into adverts with claims of cholesterol reduction and good gut bacteria. But this was just the start. And now, here we are in 2019, with a knowledge base that’s blown open a pandora’s box of nutrition information. Research has shown that what a grandmother eats when she’s carrying our mothers can influence incidence of heart disease and diabetes in later life. We know that our gut microbiome isn’t just about wind and bloating but influences our immune systems too. We know that our dental hygiene can affect our risk of heart disease. I can almost hear some of you saying it already; “everything in moderation”, “these nutritionists keep changing their minds” or “a little bit of what you fancy does you good” – and I can understand why. Without a doubt, the food we eat is heavily influenced by marketing slant, research papers conflict and fads can confuse us. So…what to do? Personalise. Get to know your nutritional self.

What your diet is like. What foods aren’t so great for you. What foods do you enjoy? Have you lost a passion for eating? Are you confused, fed up, unsure? Do you have a health condition that you’re considering? Are you taking supplements but don’t know whether they’re right for you? Thankfully, there are nutritionists and nutritional therapists who can help you with all of these. They can even help to take you to the level of your DNA and how this affects your requirements for certain nutrients, sensitivities to caffeine, alcohol, gluten and tolerance to lactose (milk sugar). These are exciting times. Nutrition is so powerful for our health. We owe it to ourselves to discover more about how to get it right - it will be worth it.

Esther Mills-Roberts is a degree-trained nutritional biochemist. She is a Registered Nutritionist (8445), and well-known health writer. She is a founder of All About Nutrition and has a private practice in Stratford. Facebook: @allaboutnutritionuk Tel: 07834 227677

Esther is offering all Connection Magazine readers a free 15 minute phone consultation in February & March. Please email: “Connectionsfree15” to




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The second Monday of the month from 7-9pm (9th January) Follow Craft Club Alcester on Facebook for updates/info.

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Answers on page 58

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above the closed lane. Any driver who ignores this could not only be getting into a dangerous situation, but subject to a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence. Again, overhead speed limits are enforced by cameras.

Smart Motorways Explained Vast swathes of the UK’s road network are being transformed into ‘Smart Motorways’. The government cites them as the solution for congestion, with the hard shoulder being used as a live lane and overhead gantries displaying variable speed limits with cameras enforcing them. Highways England says the introduction of Smart Motorways has ‘increased journey reliability’ as well as reducing personal injury accidents. But this new network requires a new way of driving, as well as a better understanding of what the overhead signs mean. Let’s take a look. Are there different types of Smart Motorway? There are. Though the overall objective of the scheme is to improve congestion, there are different types of Smart Motorway dotted throughout the country.


The first is a controlled motorway. This retains its hard shoulder, which can be used in the event of an emergency. The remaining lanes are subject to variable speed limits. These are displayed on overhead gantries, and enforced by speed cameras. If no speed limit is displayed, then the national speed limit is in place.

Like it or not, Smart Motorways are being created across the UK. Here’s how to drive on them. Then there are all-lanerunning sections of motorway. This means that all lanes of the motorway are live, and there isn’t a section of hard shoulder. In the event of an incident, a red ‘X’ is displayed


Finally, you’ve got a dynamic hard shoulder. While sounding like an 80’s prog-rock band, this section means that the hard shoulder can be opened to live traffic during periods of congestion. A solid white line still signifies the hard shoulder’s location, but those overhead gantry signs will display whether or not it can be used by traffic. It shouldn’t be used if the signs above the lane are blank or displaying a red ‘X’. Again, this is enforced by the overhead cameras. What happens if I break down on a motorway with no hard shoulder? Breaking down on the motorway can be stressful and potentially dangerous at the best of times, but what happens if the worst happens on a Smart Motorway with no hard shoulder? Should you begin to suffer with vehicle difficulties, look out for an emergency refuge area (ERA). These are denoted by blue signs with an orange SOS telephone symbol, and are dotted at 1.5 mile intervals along the highway. If you’re unable to get

Continued on page 36...



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to an ERA, you should attempt to get onto the verge (providing there is no barrier), switch on your hazard lights and exit the vehicle safely via the nearside door. If you can’t get to the nearside of the motorway safely, stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt securely fastened. If you’ve been able to get out of the car, contact Highways England via one of the phones placed in the ERA. However, if you can’t exit the vehicle, you need to call 999 from your mobile. Can I get caught for speeding even if a limit isn’t displayed above the road? This has been a point of contention for some time.

Highways England states that: “All mandatory speed limits are enforced by police, as is the national speed limit of 70mph when no speeds are shown. If you break the speed limits you will be caught.” The best advice is simply not to exceed the speed limit. Do Smart Motorways actually work? According to Highways

England, Smart Motorways are helping to keep roads moving. Published statistics say that journey reliability has improved by 22 per cent and, as mentioned, personal injury accidents have been reduced by more than half. Highways England also says that where accidents did occur, their severity was much lower overall. By James Baggott

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So, Man City beat Burton 9-0 and there were some who considered it to be wrong, that City should have taken their collective feet off the gas, that they humiliated Burton. One sports journalist even suggested, when City were 4-0 up, that they could have just hit long range shots rather than ‘repeatedly pass through inferior opponents, opening them up and scoring at will’. I can’t help thinking that the majority of people connected with Burton Albion would have felt more humiliated had City stopped trying. I’ve been on the receiving end of similar scores (OK, not at that level and, I hasten to add, not very often) and when you know you’re playing for the ‘inferior’ team, as all Burton players would have known when the draw was made - let’s face it, with over 50 league positions and many £millions difference, they would have known - damage limitation is the name of the game. There were even those who suggested City could have

fielded a weaker side. Despite the fact that so many punters had critcised other Premiership teams for doing just that, then losing to lower teams. I’m sure Man City would have taken some strength from that huge win, a confidence as they take on Liverpool as the only real challengers for the title. I’m also sure that the 3,000 or so Burton fans would enjoy seeing a full strength City in the second leg at home. I know I was disappointed when Man United fielded a complete second string in an away cup match. I had gone to see their top players test the team I was supporting but came away feeling let down. The beating they were given was well deserved. Regarding that battle at the top, It’s going to be an exciting run in to the title. Liverpool have slipped up in previous seasons when they’ve been top of the league at Christmas. City seem to be coming out of their poor spell and Liverpool may have just steadied their ship after a couple of defeats. While Liverpool have a forward line to match that of any club side in Europe, City have a better midfield as well as more strength in depth. I’m going for a City title win but it will be soooo close. Till next time...

Back of the net!

Amanda Copperthwaite

tv aerial & satellite installations • • • • • • • • •

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THE GOLDEN CROSS The Golden Cross, Wixford Road, Ardens Grafton, Warks, B50 4LG The Golden Cross, Wixford Road, 772420 Ardens Grafton, Warks, B50 4LG Tel: 01789

Tel: 01789 772420

We open from 12 noon every day and serve food from 12-9pm

Now taking bookings for

Valentine’s Menu Book now for our Valentine’s menu.

Spoil the one you love with our delicious 3 course menu for just £19.95, available from the 11th-16th February 12-9pm.

Mother’s Day

Make it a family affair and book now for our Mother’s Day £19.95 3 course menu, including traditional roast, on Sunday 31st March. Set menu being served 12-9pm. Bookings being taken now! Please contact us on 01789 772420 to book. We have added some exciting new dishes to our menu, as well as the return of many popular Golden Cross favourites. We serve food from 12-9pm every day. Full menu available daily, including sharers, sandwiches and pizzas. Check out our delicious roasts served every Sunday. All of our food is home cooked by our talented chef and his team.

Book online or call 01789 772420

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When purchased with two main meals.

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NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH ALCESTER Tips to nip garden crime in the bud! Defensive planting is the term used to describe the way you can use certain prickly plants, bushes and shrubs to deter burglars. Think about using defensive planting around vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary walls and drainpipes. Everyone enjoys having a well kept, attractive garden and there’s no reason why upping the security in your garden should mean otherwise. A few examples are: Berberis - a vibrant shrub with vivid red leaves, has sharp spine like prickles, reaches 6ft, good for hedging and growing by walls. Rosa Rugosa, aka Rubra - a flowering shrub with densely prickled stems, can reach 6ft, excellent as an impenetrable hedge. Pyracantha - a vigorous evergreen shrub with white flowers in May, followed by orange or red berries, great for hedging, growing under windows or around doorways. Holly - usually grown as a small tree or large bush, can reach up to 50ft, spiny, glossy dark green leaves all year round, excellent hedging plant. Hawthorn, Japonica and Acanthus are just a few other examples. Ask for advice at your local garden centre. Visit for more information. Automatic Number Plate Recognition ANPR recent development project. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is used by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police to help detect, deter and disrupt criminality. It can also be a powerful tool in helping us tackle travelling criminals. The deployment of ANPR cameras assists the police in protecting communities from harm and allows law abiding drivers to continue with their daily lives unhindered, whilst simultaneously drawing police attention to those using the roads for criminal endeavours. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Policing have recently delivered an ANPR development project which has seen ANPR technology installed at key strategic locations. ANPR is now installed at 129 sites across the four counties. In line with national policy, the specific locations of cameras are not disclosed as to do so would be of potential benefit to criminals using the roads and in turn hinder the effectiveness of the policing purpose of ANPR. Additional information can be found on

the Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police internet pages. The next meeting of NHW Alcester will be held on Tuesday 5 February in St Nicholas Church House, Butter Street at 7.30pm when Siobhan Allen the Community Officer from Nat West Bank will present a “Friends Against Spam” presentation looking at postal scams, doorstep crime, rogue traders and telephone scams. Contact details: or telephone Dorrie Manders on 01789 762999 Everyone is welcome. Communicating with the Police: Emergencies dial 999. The Police non emergency number: 101 to be used to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response. 101 diverts to your local Police. Calls cost 15p per call (landlines and mobiles). Alcester South Safer Neighbourhood Team dial 101 or 01789 444816. Please feel free to contact the team direct: Email: alcestersouth.snt@warwickshire.pnn. PS 542 Bob Shaw (Team Sergeant) 01789 444815 PC 1672 Robert Davies (Beat Manager) PCSO 6320 Hayley Wright PCSO 6030 Finley Moore PCSO 6327 Carolyn Davis Call Crimestoppers anonymously with information about crime on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is a charity that will pass on information to police without revealing any details of the caller. Contact Warwickshire Trading Standards 01926 414040. Website, Facebook & Twitter. Make a scam/rogue trader complaint toTrading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040 506. Sign up to receive scam alerts at You can also report a fraud or cyber crime to Action Fraud on: 0300 123 2040 or visit www. Avoid rogue traders - use Warwickshire Trading Standards “No Rogue Traders Here” approved trader scheme.

Alcester is a relatively crime free area. We work together to keep it that way 40



The Local Computer “Doctor” Over 15 years in the area fixing computers for home & business. - No job too small - Home visits and lessons - Remote repair if possible To get your computer healthy again call Steve Harris

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has great pleasure in presenting IN FEBRUARY

Film Certificate: 15 Running time 136 mins + interval

Film Certificate: 12A Running time 141 mins + interval

Ticket price: £2.50 per person

Ticket price: £2.50 per person

Friday 1 February at 7pm

Friday 22 February at 7pm

All films showing at The Crawford Memorial Hall, Salford Road, Bidford on Avon. For further information, call 01789 778653 / 07718 628925

Refreshments sponsored by your local

Ticket office opens half hour before start of film. Films are subject to availability and may be changed. Please check the following website for updates





Jacksons Jewellery Repairs BEFORE

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What is the circulation of the Connection Magazine? (Clue: see page 4)


Email your answer with name, address and phone number to: or call us with your answer & details on: 01789 491005

Opening Times

Tues & Weds 9am - 4pm Thurs, Fri & Sat 9.30am - 1pm

01789 766611

1 Priory Road, Alcester, Warks, B49 5DX (off Globe Island)

Terms & Conditions: No entries after 11:59am on Wednesday 13th March 2019. One entry per household. The winner will be drawn at random. If we do not receive a response from the winner within 48 hours of prize notification, the draw will be made again.



has great pleasure in presenting IN MARCH

Film Certificate: 12A Running time 134 mins + interval

Film Certificate: PG Running time 97 mins + interval

Ticket price: £2.50 per person

Ticket price: £2.50 per person

Friday 8 March at 7pm

All films showing at The Crawford Memorial Hall, Salford Road, Bidford on Avon. For further information, call 01789 778653 / 07718 628925

Friday 22 March at 7pm

Refreshments sponsored by your local

Ticket office opens half hour before start of film. Films are subject to availability and may be changed. Please check the following website for updates

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email




Tickets £15 to include

Fish & Chip Sup per


MYSTERY & MUSIC 7.30pm to 10pm 19 0 2 h rc a M th Saturday 16 HOOL


Alcester Road, Stratford

Alcester Musical Theatre Company are performing a Murder Mystery Play, Music and Supper

For tickets call Sharon on 01789 400214 or email Tables for 4 - 8 people available LEAGUE of

FRIENDS Stratford Hospital

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district loves bohemian life.

Lisbon Swept by the Atlantic breeze on the banks of the river Tagus, Lisbon is a lovely city where beyond the treelined avenues and elegant squares, the past lingers in myriad nooks and crannies. Old or new, quiet or bustling, the Portuguese capital is full of contrasts and always surprising. At the foot of the ‘seven hills’, Baixa, the lower town, is the main commercial hub, rebuilt in neo-classical style by the Marquis of Pombal after the 1755 earthquake. At the heart of it all is the spacious Rossio Square, beautifully paved in wavelike patterns of limestone and basalt. Fountains, flower sellers, cafés and pastry shops, it’s a place to relax and watch the world go by. Restaurants and boutiques line the popular Augusta Street ,while beyond the Triumphal Arch the vast Plaça do Comércio opens out on to the river, spanned by the 25th


of April suspension bridge. Inspired by the Golden Gate in San Francisco, the bridge commemorates the peaceful return to democracy in 1974 when the population muzzled the soldiers’ rifles with carnations.

A nostalgic place where old-fashioned trams rattle on the cobbles Stylish façades, blue mosaics glinting in the sunshine, churches, museums and gardens: there’s plenty to explore in the centre, but sooner or later visitors come across the intriguing Santa Justa Elevator, a neo-gothic lift embellished with filigree, wood panels and brass fittings. Built in 1902 by an apprentice of Eiffel, it takes you up to the western heights of Bairro Alto overlooking the low town and river. Sleepy in the day, lively at night, this old


On the eastern side of town, the traditional Alfama district clambers up the slopes, just like the Kasbah set up long ago by Moorish invaders. Tightly packed houses, steep winding lanes, narrow passageways and hidden squares, it’s a nostalgic place where old-fashioned trams rattle on the cobbles and the melancholy sound of Fado guitars drifts in dark tavernas. Up on the top is Castelo de Sao Jorge, the citadel built by the Moors then turned into a royal palace. It’s well worth the climb, for up on the battlements one can enjoy the most magnificent panorama over Lisbon and the river Tagus on its way to Belem, where caravels once set off to explore the world. At the mouth of the river, Belem claims some of the finest buildings financed by the golden Age of Discoveries, including two UNESCO sites, the grand Jeronimos Monastery, with its turrets and archways mirrored in a pond, and – also commissioned by Manuel I – the fortified yet delicate Belem Tower lapped by ocean waves. But most dramatic perhaps is the Monument to the Discoveries, built in 1960 and rising 52 metres above a huge mariner’s compass. Shaped like a caravel about to sail, it is flanked by statues of maritime heroes, among them Vasco de Gama, and led on the prow by the great pioneer Henry the Navigator. Solange Hando



A styllish h and d contemporary sh hoppiing viillage mad de up off siixteen beautiifull barrns and coffee shop in a courtyard setting, offering a wide range of unique quality products from around the world.


With something for the whole family, Yew Tree Farm Shopping Village comprises the following units:

REFRESH YOUR WARDROBE WITH NEW SPRING STOCK Yew Trree Farm Shop Home Baking & Local Produce 015 564 795688 Cowshed Eaterie Bruncches, Lunches, Afte ernoon Tea 015 564 792979 Sims Vintag ge Antiques Centre Collectables, Antiques an nd Vintage 015 564 898200 Giftivity Home Acccessories & Gifts 015 564 793030 Greys Teas Spe eciality Teas 015 564 792295

Beyond the Blue Lifestyle Clothing 01564 792025 Yew Tree Salon Hairdressers 01564 795429 Henley Chocolates Chocolaterie 01564 794718 The Chocolate Shed Chocolate Experience 01564 792410 The Garden Furniture Centre Garden & Conservatory Furniture 01564 793652

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DO NOT FORGET MOTHER’S DAY ON SUNDAY 31st MARCH! If your mum is special, treat her to a unique gift from Yew Tree Farm. We are open on Mother’s Day, so come and treat your mum to lunch or a cream tea in The Cowshed Eaterie, and have a mooch around our lovely courtyard shops. YEW TREE FARM COURTYARD SHOPPING, STRATFORD ROAD, WOOTTON WAWEN, WARWICKSHIRE B95 6BY GENERAL OPENING TIMES TUESDAY- SUNDAY 10AM- 5PM. SOME UNITS NOW OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK


Books to get you talking The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker The Silence of the Girls is a vivid retelling of Homer’s Iliad. However, this time the focus is on the minor characters, namely the women taken as ‘spoils of war’. Queen Briseis is taken as a sex slave by Achilles when he destroys her city. Through Briseis we hear of the other female slaves in the encampment – women who are forced to serve the men that killed their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. Roar – Cecelia Ahern Ahern’s latest book is a collection of satirical short stories. Each focuses on an unnamed female protagonist and is amost are a literal interpretation of a stereotype or saying. The trophy wife’s partner builds her a shelf to sit on, where she can be admired by his friends and family. The woman who feels invisible to society starts to slowly disappear. There are plenty of themes to digest and discuss and a lot of enjoyment to be had in each tale.


Sunny Side Up – Susan Calman Comedian and Strictly star Susan Calman is on a mission to encourage ‘joy, kindness and community’ with her latest book. There are anecdotes from her own life and examples of random acts of kindness that have been shared by her fans. Sunny Side Up is full of warmth, positivity and (of- course) plenty of humour.

Books that are perfect for discussing at your book club, dissecting over dinner and chatting about on social media. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay From 100 hour weeks to moral conundrums and emergency operations, the life of a junior doctor is far from easy. Adam Kay reveals all through six years of diary entries. Surprisingly, This is Going to Hurt is an incredibly funny book, particularly the numerous footnotes explaining hospital lingo.


However, Kay also gives us an insight into the stark reality of life on the frontline of the NHS. Once Upon a River – Diane Setterfield A man stumbles into The Swan inn carrying the body of what appears to be a dead girl in his arms. A few hours later, the little girl stirs. But who is she? Part adult fairy tale, part folk tale, Once Upon a River celebrates the art of storytelling and weaves numerous stories into one rich tapestry. Thoroughly enjoyable. Codename Villanelle – Luke Jennings If you loved the BBC’s Killing Eve, don’t miss the book it was based on. Villanelle is a cold-blooded assassin, who you just can’t help but root for. Eve is the woman tasked with stopping her. The storyline is quite different from that of the TV series and has less dark humour, but there’s still plenty of suspense to keep you reading.


Welcome to Regent Seven Seas Cruises® Welcome to Regent Seven Seas Cruises® the MOST inclusive luxury experience. This is cruising as it was meant to be where everything is included; return flights and transfers, unlimited shore excursions, all fine dining including the speciality restaurants and in-suite dining, all beverages including Champagnes, fine wines and branded spirits, unlimited Wi-Fi and even gratuities and service charges - without exception, without compromise. Seven Seas Explorer® - THE MOST LUXURIOUS SHIP EVER BUILT™, Seven Seas Voyager®, Seven Seas Mariner® and Seven Seas Navigator® carry 490-750 guests and are pinnacles of elegance and grace. These ultra-luxury, all-suite,

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Alcester Town Council FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

Mayor’s Awards - November 2018

As Mayor, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the role is to publicly recognise residents’ contributions to Alcester through the annual civic awards. This year nominations were requested from members of the public. The Mayor then thoroughly enjoyed reading about the great work that is done by so many for the benefit of the town. Congratulations go to Mike Dean on his award of Citizen of the Year, Arrow Action Group as Organisation of the Year and to Edward Sumners who was awarded Young Person of the Year.

Advance Notice - Annual Parish Meeting Tuesday 2 April 2019 at 7pm

Alcester War Memorial Town Hall The Annual Parish Meeting is a meeting for all the local government electors of the Parish. It is not a meeting of the Town Council. Anyone may attend and registered electors of the Parish may speak and vote during the meeting. The Town Council would like to invite all local voluntary trusts and organisations to attend. Please contact Alcester Town Council for more information on: 01789 766084 or

New Councillor - Alcester Town Council

At Full Council on 8 January 2019, Kirsten Forbes was co-opted as a new councillor to fill the vacancy on Alcester West Ward. Kirsten has lived in Alcester all her life and is currently working for Warwickshire County Council as a Project Support Officer.

Town Council Meetings

All Town Council meetings are held at Globe House at 7pm (accessed via the Seggs Lane entrance - lift available to meeting rooms on First Floor). Full Council Meetings - Tues 5 February Planning - Monday 4 & 18 February Community Care - Tues 2 February Community Facilities - Tues 19 February Presidium - Tues 26 February Members of the public are welcome to attend any of the Council meetings. The agendas are published on the Town Council website at: and copies can be viewed on the Council notice boards.

Alcester Town Council Contact Details: Alcester Town Council offices: Globe House, Priory Road, Alcester B49 5DZ Access is via the Seggs Lane entrance, first floor (lift available) Monday - Friday 9am–1pm Community Grants (or call to make an appointment). Each year, Alcester Town Council awards Tel: 01789 766084 small, grants to non-profit making or charitable Town Clerk - Vanessa Lowe: community organisations that benefit Alcester by: Planning & Communication - Sarah Duran: • Providing a service • Enhancing the quality of life of community members Community Care - Jenny Theobald: • Improving the environment Facilities - Jan Rowlatt: • Promoting Alcester in a positive way 2019 applications are now open with a closing Health & Wellbeing - Wendy Sherwood: date of Friday 1 March 2019. Additional information, application forms and the Further information can be found on our social policy and procedure can be found on the Town media pages: Council’s website, by contacting or by visiting the Town Council offices in Globe House.






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Bidford on Avon Parish Council in the County of Warwickshire

BIDFORD RURAL CINEMA Please check the Parish Council website for confirmation. Also see page 42. Friday 1st February, 7.00 pm, A STAR IS BORN (Cert 15) An “early release” film starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in this classic story. Friday 22nd February, 7.00 pm, FIRST MAN (Cert 12A). Starring Ryan Gosling and Clara Foy. Friday 8th March, 7.00 pm, Golden Globe award winner of Best Film andBest Actor, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Cert 12A), the Story of Freddie Mercury and Queen. Friday 22nd March, 7.00 pm, STAN & OLLIE (Cert PG). “Early release” film starring Steve Coogan and John C Reilly. You can see a trailer online of the film being screened on our website. All films are screened at the Crawford Memorial Hall, Salford Road. Ticket Office opens at 6.30 pm and prices remain at only £2.50 Refreshments are available courtesy of your local Warners Budgens. VILLAGE EVENTS Saturday 8th February, 10.30am - 3pm, Snowdrop Open Gardens at Woodpeckers, Mulberry Cottage and Garden Cottage, Marlcliff - Monday 11th February, 6.30 - 8.30pm at Elizabeth House, Stratford. Parish Council elections are taking place on Thursday 2nd May. Bidford-on-Avon is a forward thinking, pro active Parish Council, working hard to improve the quality of life of its residents. Would you like to be part of this? The Warwickshire and West Midlands Association of Local Councils (WALC) is holding a Prospective Councillor Session at Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford upon Avon where I (the Clerk) will be making a presentation. As Bidford grows, it is hoped more residents will consider becoming an elected representative. We hope to see you. pdfs/dated/191111-parishcouncillor.pdf. A Parish Council Election site will shortly be included on the website to offer information on how to become a Councillor and what it entails. Saturday 16th March Alcester & Bidford Rotary

Club Big Breakfast at the Crawford Memorial Hall, Salford Road, B50 4EZ. MEETINGS Monday 11th February & 11th March, 7.30pm, Planning Consultative Committee Meeting. Monday 18th February 7.30pm, Parish Council Strategy Meeting. Monday 25th February & 25th March, 7.30pm, Parish Council Meeting. All meetings, which are open to the public, are held at the Parish Council Meeting Room, Bramley Way, B50 4QG, unless otherwise stated. BIDFORD EMAIL INFORMATION The Parish Council is looking at ways to keep the local community informed of what it (the Parish Council) is doing, but also of other village events. If you want to keep abreast of local information, you can sign up by simply emailing the Clerk at info@ and your name will be added to the list. As The Connection Magazine is now bi-monthly, this is a good opportunity to sign up and ensure you are up to date with everything LOCAL. SOCIAL MEDIA - You can also keep up to date by following the Parish Council on social media: via Facebook (Bidford on Avon) and Twitter (@Bidford_ PC). A lot of information and updates are published through Social Media, so do make sure you follow us to stay informed. PARISH COUNCIL CONTACTS Clerk to the Parish Council – Mrs. Elisabeth Uggerløse. Parish Council Office is located in Bramley Way, in the same building as the library. The Office is open to the public 10.00 am – 3.00 pm daily. If you are unable to attend during these hours, please contact the Clerk to arrange a mutually convenient time. Tel No. 01789 778653 / 07718 628 925 email website address: Parish Councillors – a list of Parish Councillors contact details is posted on the notice boards, and can also be found online www.bidfordonavon-pc. Elisabeth Uggerlose - Clerk to the Parish Council email 01789 778653 or 07718 628925




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community events & what’s on...

To publicise any community events, email by 12th of the month Cupcake Café at Salford Priors

Saturday 2nd February and 2nd March, from 10.0012.00 at TOPs (behind Salford Priors Primary School). A space for everyone of all ages from the community to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with some yummy cake.

Alcester Flower Club

We meet on the first Monday of the month at the Methodist Church, Priory Road, Alcester at 7.30pm. Monday 4th February is our AGM when we discuss the past year and the 2019 programme. Visitors and new members are very welcome so why not come and meet us and find out about our club. March 4th meeting is a flower arranging demonstration by Jo Davis. Relax and enjoy flower arranging at its best with lovely flowers and foliage, and entertaining talk as well. Contact: Chairman, Mrs. Brenda Kirkman, 01789 778669.

Broom WI

Our meetings are held at Broom Village Hall, commencing at 7.30pm. Thursday 7th February, a talk by Francis Freeman - 'AWorkingWarwickshireWood'. Thursday 7th March, Kate Berwick presents 'Little Bird Soaps'. Visitors are welcome. Refreshments are served at all our meetings.

Alcester Gardening Club

Our meetings are held The Centre, Jubilee Court, Lea Close, Alcester. Thursday 7th February, The 21st AGM of this club will start at 7.15pm and will be followed by a talk entitled 'The Reluctant Gardener' by Derek Bull from Bearley. This time last year Derek was supposed to come to us but we were all snowed in. We hope that’s not the case this year. Thursday 7th March, Richard Baldwin from Pershore College will talk on Vegetables in the Small Garden. Thursday 4th April, Glenis Dyer from Welford will give us a talk entitled 'Fifty Shades of Green!' Glenis is famous for her clematis collection which we visited a couple of years ago. All members and guests are very welcome (guests are £3 to include efreshments). It’s also time to book for one of our two lovely trips this year. Please call the secretary on 01789 765105 for details.

Salford Priors Ladies Group

Meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 7.30pm at the Memorial Hall, School Road, Salford Priors. Wednesday 13th February, AGM plus social time. Wednesday 13th March, 'Hope and Kindness' with Fiona May. Visitor's fee including refreshments is £2. Contact Pam Sharpe on 01789 773746 or Pam Seville on 01789 772540.


Alcester Ladies Probus We are a friendly club for ladies, meeting for

lunch every 2nd Wednesday of the month at Kings Court Hotel, 12.15 for 12.45, followed by a speaker. On Wednesday 13th February, Rev. Claire Lording will tell us 'Tales from Tasmania'. March 13th is our special annual meeting open to Members' friends, husbands and partners, with speaker Tony Caldwell MBE talking on 'Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk.' Visitors are very welcome so come and meet us and we hope you may like to become a member. Contact: Mrs. Cynthia Hill, Hon. Secretary 01789 763446.

Alcester WI

We meet on the second Thursday of the month at 7.30pm in The Community Centre, Jubilee Court, St Faith's Road. Thursday 14th February, come and meet the face behind the name in your favourite magazine. Amy James from the Connection Magazine will be talking about her role in keeping us all informed about what is happening in the local area. All members and visitors are most welcome. Our March meeting is on Thursday 14th. Vince Williams will be talking about the WI At War. This promises to be a most interesting talk for any one interested in the developing role of women during the twentieth century - not just WI members. All welcome.

Bidford on Avon WI

Our next meeting will be Thursday 14th February, 7.30pm at Bidford Methodist Church. Have you ever wondered whether men and women talk differently. Do animals communicate? Our speaker on language myths, Dr Charlotte Rawthorne will pose these and other questions. Our March 14th speaker is the youngest female war artist Charlie Calder-Potts, who will give a fascinating insight into her life. If you would like more information please contact Ann 01789772409 or Pauline 01789 773390.

Cookhill Garden Club

On Wednesday 20th February at Cookhill Village Hall, Nick Houghton from the Where Next Association will be giving a talk on 'Composting'. Meetings start at 7.30 pm. Our guest speaker on Wednesday 20th March, will be be Richard and Vicky Fox from Plantagogo, Jubilee Cottage Nursery, near Crewe. They will be talking about their collections of Heucherallas, Heucheras and Tiarellas. Newcomers are always welcome.. Further information at



community events & what’s on...

To publicise any community events, email by 12th of the month Bidford





7.30pm on Friday 15th February at Crawford Hall, Salford Road Bidford, B50 4 EZ, ‘Postman’s Knock’ - Postal services in the Alcester area from the 18th century to the present day. Original research from 1988 recently updated. Speaker: Alan Godfrey, Chair, Alcester History Society. Friday 15th March, ‘Discovering Charles 1st by Prof. Richard Cust, Dept of History, Birmingham University. An introduction to Charles I attitudes to kingship and his behaviours. As King, Charles exercised poor judgement, was unable to compromise and was out of touch with his people. This talk will outline the false world in which Charles lived, his blindness to others views and how he precipitated the civil war, with Edgehill being the first skirmish.

Bidford Gardening Society

Visitors are very welcome to join us on Thursday 21st February, when Ian Sadler’s talk ‘A Dutch Auction at Aalsmeer’ promises to be a most interesting look at the world’s largest flower market. There will also be a Bring & Buy sale. On Thursday, 21st March the subject of the evening will be ‘A Spring Garden’ by Jeff Soulsby. All meetings are held at 7.45 pm on the thirdThursday of the month in the Crawford Hall, Bidford. Visitors are very welcome at only £3, including refreshments. For further details please ring Annette Haines on 01789 268974 or go to On Saturday 9th February there will be a ‘Snowdrops Open Garden’ from 10.30am to 3pm at the adjacent properties of Woodpeckers, Mulberry Cottage and Garden Cottage at The Bank, Marlcliff, Bidford on Avon, B50 4NT. Do come along and enjoy the magnificent display of snowdrops! Suggested donation £3.50 per person. Refreshments available. Please park with consideration to local residents. For further details please contact 07956 213966 or 07810 692692.

Bidford Health Centre

Wednesday 10th April, 7pm start - Arthritis Information Evening. No further details at present so look out for notices advertising the event. We hope you are able to join us for this interesting evening. Alcester Singers Easter Concert on 13th April, 7.30pm at St Nicholas Church, Alcester. Performance of Magnificats by CPE Bach, John Rutter and Pergolesi with professional soloists. Tickets £12 (under 14s free) from : 01789 488401 : 01789 400295 : Humphries Shoes, Alcester.

Tablet Computing for Beginners

at Bidford Community Library. Join our Saturday

morning course to learn basic skills with a tablet in a small supportive group. Our next four week course starts on Saturday, 2nd March 2019. Call in or phone the library on 01789 773239 for more information. The project is funded by a SDC Digital Inclusion Grant.

Alcester & District Men’s Probus

Alcester Mens Probus is a group of retired business men meeting on the 4th Wednesday of the month in a semi-informal and light hearted atmosphere for lunch followed by a guest speaker. Meetings are at Kings Court Hotel, Alcester 12:15 for 12:30. New members always receive a warm welcome. Full details of membership are available by email: jackwinder2011@

Bidford Playreading Group

Every last Monday of the month at 7pm at Bidford Community Library, Bramley Way, Bidford. £2 includes tea and biscuits.

Bidford Darby & Joan

We meet at Westholme Court, Westholme Road, Bidford, every Thursday from 2pm - 4pm. We have outings every month. Come and join us.

Salford Priors Reading Group

We meet on the third Monday of the month at 7pm. Cost is £2 to cover a meal out at Christmas. Please contact Fiona on 07495 867318 for details.

Knit and Natter Group

Bidford Comunity Library has a Knit & Natter Group which meet every Wednesday afternoon from 1.30 to 3.30. Team, coffee & biscuits are included in the cost of £2. Beginners to experts welcome. STRADFAS (Stratford member of the Arts Society) We hold lectures on the third Thursday of each month at the Stratford Play House at 10.45 am and again at !.30 pm. The lecturers are nationally accredited in a wide area of subjects. Membership also includes opportunities to join art trips in this country and abroad, attend days of Special Interest and work with our Heritage volunteers. Guests are welcome. For more details email: or website:

Nordic Walking

Arrow and Arden Nordic Walking is sociable community spirited outdoor group who thrive on laughter and pole power! Nordic walking is a cheeky exhilarating exercise in disguise that helps you tone up, slim down and get fitter. Come and feel the magic yourself. It's more than just a walk in the park! Contact Kathrin on 07875609324 or via

To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


community events & what’s on...

To publicise any community events, email by 12th of the month Events at The Alcester War Memorial Town Hall in February and March

Every Mon Every Wed Every Thurs Every Thurs Every Fri Sat 2nd March Sun 3rd March Wed 6th March Wed 13th March

7pm - 8.30pm 9.30am - 12.30pm 6.45pm - 9pm 8.15pm - 9.45pm 9am - 12.30pm 8.30am - 12noon 10.30am - 1.30pm 8pm - 10.30pm 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Martial Arts Club - Mr T. Moore, 07491 673608. Yoga classes (3) - Rebecca Atkinson 07710 318041. Arrow Action Group (Special Needs) - Mrs J. Appleby, 01789 766224. Tai Chi Classes - Jane Bowen, 01789 763866. Yoga Classes - C. Maguire, 07568 562416. Rotary Big Breakfast - Kay Blake 01789 764128. Town Hall Jazz Brunch - Nick Dearling 765070. Alcester Comedy Club - Harvey Hawkins 07941 628247. Town Hall AGM - all welcome - Nick Dearling 01789 765070.

Alcester Café

Supports people with memory problems/dementia and their families. Held at the Jubilee Centre, off St Faith’s Road, every Tuesday and Friday from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Drop in and see us or ring Carole or Roger on 01789 488088 for more information.

Bidford Dementia Café

Supporting people with memory problems/dementia and their families, carers and voluteers. Every Monday (except Bank Holidays) between 10:30am and 12:30pm on a ‘drop in’ basis at Westholme Court, Westholme Road, Bidford. For more information, call Wendy on 07713 648716, email secretarybdc@

Walking for Health - Health Walks

This National Scheme is run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support. The local group meets at 10.30am every Monday (except Bank Holidays) on the High Street, at the bridge in Bidford. Walks are led by trained walk leaders and last for 1 - 2 hours, varying in length between 2.5 and 4 miles, with the reward of a drink either en route or at the end of the walk. New walkers are always welcome. Please note that all participants are required to complete a simple outdoor health questionnaire. For more information, go to

Silver Surfers

New to computing and over 50? Come along to our friendly Silversurfers session at our new venue,

Alcester Library and Museum. We specialise in giving help with all tablets and Windows 10. Every Thursday between 10am and 12 midday.

Visually Impaired?

If you live in Alcester, Bidford or Studley, you might like to meet others in your situation. Alcester Vision Support Club is a social group which meets on alternate Thursdays at Jubilee Court, Alcester. It is an opportunity to chat, be entertained and enjoy tea together. For more information, call Ruth Dutton 01789 763827 or Karyl Rees 01789 400561. Local Art Club, Alcester

Open to anyone who is interested, any ability. We meet every Thursday, 7pm - 9.00pm at Church House, Alcester High Street. A small attendance fee. We are small group of people who like painting, without a teacher, other than each other. We occasionally have a demonstrator, which is paid for out of our subs. We are a friendly group who have a love of painting. All are

welcome to join us. Craft Club Alcester

Calling all embroiderers, crocheters, knitters, illustrators, crafters of all disciplines! An informal free monthly meet up at the Holly Bush pub in Alcester on the 2nd Monday of the month. Bring along whatever you are working on for a couple of hours of inspirational chat wth likeminded souls.

Children’s answers: Henry collects 11 presents on the route. There are 8 hearts. The Eiffel Tower order is D, B, E, F, A and C.

Sudoku solutions

Easy grid

Not so easy grid

(see page 6)



It’s Charity Breakfast st It must bee nearly Sprin ng! Time

Saturday 2 March Alcester Town Hall 8.30am – 12 noon Saturday 16 March Bidford Crawford Hall 9am – 12 noon

£6 (£8 for large)

Alcester tickets, Di Gittus 01789 488877 Bidford tickets, Nigel Curtis 07877 884258 Or pay on the door

The birds are singing, the flowers are springing & we’re back with our popular & friendly charity breakfasts. Please come & chat with your neighbours or peacefully peruse a newspaper. Enjoy a full English breakfast, tea, coffee, orange juice & toast. All our ingredients are sourced locally & lovingly cooked by us! We are grateful for the support of local businesses, which means we have more profits to donate to local charities. Our friendly & informal meetings take place on Thursday mornings for breakfast at Kings Court Hotel, Alcester. We’d love more members, or Rotary Friends, in the Alcester & Bidford Area to help with events such as these. If you would like to come along or find other information please email or call Sue Matthewman on 01527 854723 To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email


prospective large purchase or use a traditional piggy bank at home and watch your savings grow the oldfashioned way.

Spring Clean Your Finances for a Richer 2019 Spring is the season when we give our homes a good clean and tidy up, so why not do the same with your finances? There are many ways to take control of your financial life, and the majority of them are so easy it’s worth looking at all the possibilities. Get organised Financial decluttering offers a clearer view of your overall financial situation and valuable insight into unhealthy spending habits. Begin by finding all your relevant paperwork such as mortgage statements, insurance policies, credit agreements and utility bills, and decide which documents you need to keep. Reduce outgoings and make paying easier Not only can you save money by cancelling subscriptions that you no longer need, sorting out your paperwork highlights any excessively high payments you’ve been making and allows for tighter financial control. You can sign up to receive paperless bills and


bank statements, which helps to declutter your physical living space.

Becoming debt-free is a liberating and important element of a financial spring clean Make a new budget Whether or not you already operate a budget, making a new one can instil fresh life into your finances. Ensure you factor in all important annual events including birthdays, Christmas and holidays in the budget, so you arrive at an accurate plan for monthly expenditure. Plan finances ahead If you’re planning a big purchase in 2019 – say a holiday or a car - in conjunction with your new budget, saving a little each month can help to achieve your goals without going into debt. Maybe you could open a new savings account for each


Track your spending With so many personal finance apps and tools now available, you can track your spending wherever you are. You might prefer to use a spreadsheet, or write down your spending in a notebook. Whatever you do, keeping track of your spend helps you stick to your budget and deal confidently with the inevitable financial setbacks we all experience. Tackle debt By tackling debt, you free yourself from the threat of serious financial difficulty and provide new opportunities to save. You might choose to use the ‘debt snowball’ method of paying off the smallest debts first or get stuck right in and pay off the largest debt. However you decide to approach it, becoming debt-free is liberating and an important element of a financial spring clean. Overhauling your finances can make a significant impact on life in general and helps you to make the most of your money. Start your spring clean this month and you’ll be reaping the rewards not only in 2019, but for many years to come. By Ann Haldon


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Bespoke Design Services

Flyer & Leaflet Design. Get in touch for your FREE quotation. | 01789 491005 | To advertise please call 01789 491005 or email



• Landscaping • Building Work • Patios PROPERTY • Brickwork &GARDEN MAINTENANCE • Fencing • Carpentry • Turfing • Flooring • Hedge cutting • Painting & Decorating • Tree Care • General Property Maintenance FULLY QUALIFIED & INSURED


Call us now on:

07544 330103

D R I V E W AY & L A N D S C A P E S O L U T I O N S Henley in Arden: 01564 330 616 Solihull: 0121 607 8834 Stratford: 01789 508 660 Mobile: 07785 507 103


Contact us today for a FREE DESIGN & FREE QUOTATION


• • • • • • •

Block Paving • Lift & Relay Drives Fencing • Patios • Tarmacing Brickwork • Slabbing • Gravel Driveway Repairs Clean & Seal Drives Driveway Maintenance • Garden Design Roofing Repairs • UPVC Fascias & Downpipes

ALL WORK FULLY GUARANTEED FOR 5 YEARS No deposits taken - No subcontractors used

Check out samples of our work on our website www DriveCoLtd com Branches throughout the Midlands


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Head Office: Forward House, 17 High Street, Henley in Arden, Warwickshire B95 5AA




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Company Reg. No: 10560471 Registered in England & Wales

Sanders&Sanders ESTATE AGENTS

Our friendly and experienced team are here to help you with your sales and lettings.

Keeping the whole family happy

Tel: 01789 766771 Email:


01789 766771

Burton House, High Street, Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 5AB

Burton House, High B49 5AB T:Street, 01789Alcester, 766771Warwickshire E:

Profile for Connection magazine

The Connection Magazine - February-March 2019  

The Connection Magazine could seriously help your business! It is an independent business and community magazine that is delivered free, doo...

The Connection Magazine - February-March 2019  

The Connection Magazine could seriously help your business! It is an independent business and community magazine that is delivered free, doo...